A Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) is a graduate degree that prepares individuals with a bachelor’s degree in the liberal arts or sciences for a teaching career in grades K through 12. In addition to including education courses that meet state certification requirements, MAT programs focus on providing teaching candidates with an academic foundation in education, as well as practical classroom skills. An MAT usually includes a full semester of student teaching under the guidance of a certified teacher. MAT programs offer subject areas of concentration that correspond with different grade levels. Candidates who want to teach in elementary schools concentrate on multiple subjects, while middle school and secondary school teaching candidates concentrate on a single subject area.
Both the MAT and the Master of Education (M.Ed.) are advanced degrees for teachers. The main difference between these degrees is that the MAT typically prepares teachers for initial certification, while the M.Ed. is primarily earned by professional teachers who want to gain more knowledge in a specific education subject area, such as curriculum instruction or administration.
Master of Arts in Teaching Online
Many schools of education now offer online MAT programs that provide increased flexibility by allowing aspiring teachers to attend class and complete coursework from any location that has an Internet connection. Online MAT programs are a practical option for students who have professional and personal commitments that make it difficult to obtain teaching certification through a full-time program.
The best online programs offer the same curriculum as the school’s on-campus program and apply the same admission requirements. Providing students with the ability to communicate with instructors and classmates in a face-to-face online environment is another hallmark of a good online program. In addition, candidates in online MAT programs should be provided with the opportunity to complete student teaching fieldwork in the local community.
Master of Arts in Teaching Admissions
Applicants for MAT programs must have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university. The applicant’s major does not need to have been education, and prior coursework in education is not required. In addition to completing an application form, many MAT programs require prospective students to submit one or more personal essays that demonstrate the applicant’s communication skills, personal commitment and professional goals.
Master of Arts in Teaching Cost
The cost of an MAT degree varies by school. For students who are concerned about the cost of earning a graduate teaching degree, there are a wide range of sources for financial aid. Many schools provide financial aid directly to students. There are also federal scholarships for teachers, grants and work study program available for students who qualify. Some students may also be eligible for scholarships and grants from private organizations. Student loans from the Federal Direct Loan program are another option for financing an MAT.
Master of Arts in Teaching with Certification
A Master of Arts in Teaching with certification program addresses the education requirements for state certification. Although teaching certification requirements vary from state to state, an MAT with certification program will provide prospective teachers with the basic teaching coursework that all states require. After earning an MAT, graduates will be prepared to take the next step and apply for a state teaching certificate that will allow them to teach in public schools in a specific state. This certificate identifies a teacher as credentialed to teach a single subject or multiple subjects at the elementary, middle or secondary school level.
Prospective teachers who are interested in pursuing an MAT should become familiar with the certification requirements in their state before choosing a program in order to ensure that their degree will provide the necessary coursework.